Given that conservation funding is scarce, effective and focused approaches are needed to guarantee that resources are invested efficiently. One strategy is to use prioritisation tools that identify sites of high interest for biodiversity, and two of the most widely used approaches are based on identifying Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and Important Plant Areas (IPAs).
However, it is largely untested as to whether these different techniques produce consistent and similar results and whether the sites they identify represent broader biodiversity. One way to test this is to adopt a systematic conservation planning approach, a transparent and inclusive process for measuring the extent to which networks of conservation areas meet conservation targets.
This study will focus on comparing the KBA, IPA and systematic conservation planning approaches, focusing primarily on plant data but adding supporting fauna information where available, using the Maputaland global biodiversity hotspot as a case study then expand to the whole of Mozambique. This will involve evaluating the sensitivity and strengths of the KBA and IPA criteria thresholds, and investigating how they relate to national and landscape-scale prioritisation schemes developed using systematic conservation planning.
This is a PhD project funded by Kew Gardens under the Tropical Important plant Areas (TIPAs) programme (https://www.kew.org/science/our-science/projects/tropical-important-plant-areas-mozambique) and through the Darwin Initiative-funded project "Conservation social networking, ecotourism and land-use planning in Maputaland" (https://www.darwininitiative.org.uk/project/25003/).